Volcanic peaks and ancient heritage
A land of volcanic peaks, fertile valleys and hot mineral springs, the Auvergne offers stunning scenery and ancient heritage in abundance. The Chaîne des Puys, a series of rounded volcanoes, stretches out over the landscape in a display of wild beauty, while Romanesque churches stand in regal sophistication in the region’s towns. The most notable of these include the cathedral at Le Puy-en-Velay, a starting point on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage route, and the basilica of Notre Dame du Port in Clermont-Ferrand.
It is a sparsely populated region with an extensive history that reveals itself in the Occitan language, Auvergnat, which is still spoken there, and the wealth of medieval castles scattered over the terrain. Once owned by Catherine de Médici, Busséol Castle is a typical example, standing atop a volcanic summit in the Puy de Dôme. It is characterised by a large cylindrical tower, and within the castle walls is housed the Garden of the Crusades, the oldest known continuously worked garden in France.
The Auvergne’s beautiful countryside and attractive villages make it a great location for walking or cycling; the terrain, although undulating, rewards visitors with some unforgettable views.
8 Matching Holidays
Valleys of the Rugged South
Dramatic landscapes and remote beauty
Recommended in the Telegraph's Top 10 Activity Holidays in France for 2015, this is a moderate walk through stunning and dramatic scenery: steep tree covered slopes, cascading streams and remote, granite strewn plains. Experience...
Compostela - Le Puy to Nasbinals - Stage 1
Hidden hamlets, ancient churches and magnificent mountains
This classic walk follows in the footsteps of pilgrims often making use of the GR65 footpath. Starting in the Massif Central, heading through the vineyards of south west France and finishing in the sunny foothills of the Pyrenees. The horizons are...
Compostela - Nasbinals to Conques - Stage 2
Breathtaking, panoramic views as you cross the causses
This delightful scenic walk with stunning views takes you from the ancient town of Nasbinals in the heights of the Massif Central, through the Lot Valley to the beautiful basilica in the historic village of Conques.
Compostela - Conques to Cahors - Stage 3
Classic walk following in the footsteps of pilgrims
A moderate walk from the ancient town of Conques, via country tracks to discover woods, forests, watermills and burial grounds and finishing in Cahors.
Volcanoes of the Auvergne
Wooded hills and lunar lakes
The dramatic landscape of the Auvergne is full of contrasts: barren yet lush, rolling yet rocky. You’ll be walking on a whole range of surfaces, from narrow woodland tracks to country lanes.
Stevenson Trail - Stage 1
In the footsteps of one man and his donkey
In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson published 'Travels with a Donkey', an account of his intriguing journey accompanied by his donkey, Modestine. Starting at the southern end of the Massif Central, this walk takes you across the Cevennes...
Stevenson Trail - Stage 2
Follow in Robert Louis Stevenson's footsteps across the wild Auvergne
This section of the walk, taken by Stevenson and Modestine, passes through ever-changing landscapes of lush woodlands, plunging valleys and boulder-strewn plains. A must for literature lovers and those with a sense of adventure.
The old Ardèche steam train trail: the ‘Dolce Via’
This moderate route is the perfect way to explore the dramatic vistas and charming villages of the Ardèche. Running along former railway lines and deep into the heart of the region, the steam train trail offers a leisurely exploration of...